NEW ULM - Experience will be the key for the Minnesota Valley Lutheran Chargers after tallying a 4-5 record last year.
"We bring back five starters on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball," said coach Jim Buboltz. "We had a lot of kids last year get a lot of downs. They may not have been starters but they got game experience."
The pride of the Chargers this year comes in the return of linemen Blake Guth and Sam Genelin on the right side of the line, Eric Westphal back at center and Jake Mielke and Trapper Holden on the left side.
"We also bring back Tim Schmidt so it starts with those guys," Buboltz said. "That experience will help when you have new people in the backfield."
Seth Kroells, a four-year starter in the backfield (399 yards and four touchdowns last year) is back.
Noah Edwards will be the quarterback this season.
"He is talented and throws a nice ball," Buboltz said. "He does a nice job in the huddle of leading the team."
Edwards will have his favorite target back in Jacob Hoffman. Last year, Hoffman latched onto 19 catches for 398 yards and five touchdowns.
In the backfield Edwards, in addition to Kroells, will have both Josh Wong and Lukas Borgwardt.
"They are both exciting backs who can get the job done," Buboltz said. "We are happy with the athletes that we have. We have good athletes and we want to hang our hats on them."
Buboltz is also pleased with Riley Marth, Andrew Kuester along with Jacob Stuck "who will also give us some downs."
A.J. Buboltz has also taken snaps at both tight end and quarterback.
"We have some athletes - more than just one or two," Buboltz said. "That ability to be able to be dangerous with the ball in their hands will be big. If the guys up front get their blocks on somebody and can move people it can help out even more."
Kroells, who averaged just more than 4 yards a carry and 57 yards a game, said MVL wants to try and get better than last year's 4-5 mark.
He also acknowledged that despite the loss of skilled position players, the Chargers have talent to have a successful season.
"Our whole line is back and we have a lot of good players coming back that saw time behind the graduated players," Kroells said. "It is nice having those big guys up front."
Kroells feels that the line will determine the Chargers' season.
"I need to keep running the ball hard and not take any plays off and as a team we need to do the same," Kroells said. "We want to make memories."